Podcaster: Dr. Al Grauer
Title: Travelers in the Night Eps. 113E & 114E: NASA RADAR Finds Asteroid Moon & Ready Yourself For Alien
Organization: Travelers in The Night
Description: Today’s 2 topics:
- RADAR images of 2004 BL86 obtained with the 230 foot wide NASA Deep Space Network show that it is about 1100 feet in diameter and has a small moon about 230 feet across.
- Carl Sagan said that “The Universe is a pretty big place. If it’s just us, seems like an awful waste of space.” It is hard to look into the sky on a clear dark night and not share this feeling. Many years ago Sir Arthur Eddington said “Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine.” Stay tuned.
Bio: Dr. Al Grauer is currently an observing member of the Catalina Sky Survey Team at the University of Arizona. This group has discovered nearly half of the Earth approaching objects known to exist. He received a PhD in Physics in 1971 and has been an observational Astronomer for 43 years. He retired as a University Professor after 39 years of interacting with students. He has conducted research projects using telescopes in Arizona, Chile, Australia, Hawaii, Louisiana, and Georgia with funding from NSF and NASA.
He is noted as Co-discoverer of comet P/2010 TO20 Linear-Grauer, Discoverer of comet C/2009 U5 Grauer and has asteroid 18871 Grauer named for him.
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113E: NASA RADAR Finds Asteroid Moon
Asteroid 2004 BL86 was discovered more than 10 years ago by the LINEAR program in New Mexico.
Dr. Vishnu Reddy of the Tucson based Planetary Science Institute observed this small asteroid with the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility on Mauna Kea, Hawaii. By measuring the colors which are present and missing in 2004 BL86’s reflected light, he found it to have a composition similar to the Arizona sized asteroid Vesta. It is likely that 2004 BL86 was created when Vesta was involved in several massive collisions during which 500,000 cubic miles of rock were blasted into space. The two large craters on Vesta’s southern hemisphere are a record of these events. Check out the NASA Dawn Spacecraft’s images of Vesta.
Until recently, we knew asteroid 2004 BL86 only as a faint moving point of light in the night sky. Early in 2015 it came close to planet Earth. RADAR images obtained with the 230 foot wide NASA Deep Space Network show that it is about 1100 feet in diameter and has a small moon about 230 feet across.
Approximately 16% of the Earth approaching asteroids larger than a couple of football fields in diameter are really two objects in orbit about a common center of gravity. The response to this type of double trouble object will be complicated should one of them be found to be on a collision course with planet Earth.
114E: Ready Yourself For Alien
Carl Sagan said that “The Universe is a pretty big place. If it’s just us, seems like an awful waste of space”. It is hard to look into the sky on a clear dark night and not share this feeling.
Life occurs in the most hostile environments on Earth. Liquid water occurs in other places in our solar system. We are finding organic materials including amino acids and vitamin B3 in meteorites that come to us from outer space.
We now know that there are likely to be 25 Earth like planets in our Milky Way galaxy for every woman, child, and man on our planet.
Recently NASA and the Library of Congress sponsored a meeting focused on how humans might prepare for the discovery of life outside of Earth. Dr. Seth Shostak of the SETI Institute told the group that we may discover past or present life on Mars, discover tell tale gases in other planet’s atmospheres, or pick up signals from other civilizations. Dr. Susan Schneider a professor at the University of Connecticut explored ideas concerning nonliving or artificial intelligence.
In a recently published book, Dr. David Weintraub explores how people’s religions will shape their reactions to the discovery of thinking beings outside of our planet.
Bottom line is that we cannot come up with a tight definition of either life or intelligence.Many years ago Sir Arthur Eddington said “Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine” Stay tuned.
For Travelers in the Night this is Dr. Al Grauer.
End of podcast:
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